Don’t close minds to differences, diversity

To the Editor:

As I read the letter to the editor from Janice Hicks, Hollis, I wondered if we were sitting in two different rooms, listening to two different presentations.

Celine Ibrahim gave an excellent presentation about the Islamic faith and the Quran. That there were apparent attempts to put Celine on the defensive about terrorism was offensive to me.

I had the advantage of Quaker schools, and the studies of all the ancient and present-day religions. I believe that all schools, public and private, would do well to offer these courses as electives. How else do we strive for world peace if we close our minds to our differences, our incredible diversity?

Another of my blessings is the more than 20 years I have taught English to immigrants and refugees from all over the world. My last class at the Adult Learning Center in Nashua had 24 students from 16 countries. Among these were some who professed no faith at all, a Catholic nun from Mexico, other Catholics, Protestants, two Muslim men from Iran, two Muslim women from Morocco, a Hindu from India, a Buddhist from Vietnam and a Jew from an Eastern European country. A veritable United Nations. They all treated each other with the utmost respect and consideration.

Do those who denigrate Islam actually know/have contact with any Muslims? Or, are their opinions and fears based solely on the fear-mongering sponsored by the religionists and some news media sources?

Perhaps we would all do well to remember that not one of us anywhere would be where we are today if not for migration, emigration and immigration. Closed borders are wrought by closed minds. To me, a closed mind is an empty mind.

For those not at the presentation, you can view the entire event on the Brookline Public Library website and the Brookline Public Access channel. Hopefully, the Brookline Library will continue to provide us with additional intellectual and interesting presentations on a variety of subjects. Thank you, Myra, Keith and all the BPL staff for the excellent work you do for us.

Nancy C. Reinbold, Brookline